Effects of selenium deficiency on glutathione-induced protection from hyperbaric hyperoxia in rat

S. G. Jenkinson, J. M. Jordan, C. A. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Exposure of rats to 100% O2 at high pressure (> 2.0 ATA) results in generalized convulsions and death within several hours. The tripeptide, glutathione, has been shown to protect rats exposed to hyperbaric hyperoxia with delayed onset of seizures and prolonged survival. To investigate the hypothesis that glutathione exerts its protective effects via the glutathione redox cycle, we injected selenium-deficient rats and their selenium-supplemented controls with either glutathione (1 mmol/kg) or an equivolume of saline before exposure to 100% O2 at 4 ATA. Selenium-deficient rats exhibit marked reduction in liver glutathione peroxidase activity (GSH-Px). Glutathione administration significantly delayed both the onset of seizures and time to death in the control animals. In selenium-deficient rats, however, glutathione administration was not protective, having no significant effects on time to seizure or time to death. We also measured changes in glutathione concentrations in lung, liver, and brain of these same groups of animals exposed either to hyperbaric hyperoxia or to room air. In control rats, lung and brain glutathione concentrations did not change with the hyperbaric exposure regardless of glutathione pretreatment status, but hepatic glutathione concentration declined significantly during the exposure when glutathione was not supplied. If these animals were pretreated with glutathione, the decline in hepatic glutathione concentrations did not occur. In selenium-deficient rats, the hyperbaric exposure did not result in changes in lung, brain, or liver glutathione concentrations either in the glutathione-pretreated or in the saline-pretreated animals. Exogenous GSH administration does not protect selenium-deficient rats from hyperbaric hyperoxia. These findings suggest that normal tissue GSH-Px activity is necessary for glutathione-induced protection from hyperbaric hyperoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1/3
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989


  • glutathione
  • glutathione peroxidase
  • hyperbaric oxygen
  • selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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